gdc
CLL Monthly MinutesLeukemia

Evolving Cancer Care in the Time of COVID-19

The need to protect patients and healthcare workers from contracting COVID-19 has resulted in many changes to how hospital care is delivered.
Web Exclusives – February 23, 2021

The emergence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes COVID-19, has presented a worldwide health challenge unlike anything most living people have ever seen. To protect patients and healthcare providers, many hospitals in the United States have been forced to limit visitors and implement other policies to reduce the possibility of viral spread.1 For instance, certain physical interactions like handshakes, hugs, and even some physical exams have been restricted.1

For many patients with cancer, especially those with leukemia and those who have received stem-cell transplants, the risks of contracting any infectious disease—not just COVID-19—are higher than for other hospitalized patients.1 Patients in the leukemia unit are often uniquely vulnerable to infection because of treatments that weaken their immune system.1 In addition, patients with leukemia can often be hospitalized for extended periods of time if dealing with complications from their disease or treatment.1

All of this has meant that healthcare providers in inpatient leukemia units have had to adjust to the limits imposed by social distancing and other COVID-19 restrictions. In the beginning of the pandemic, many found themselves delivering bad news to patients who were unable to have loved ones at their bedside.1 Given the difficulty of this situation, they have adapted by putting family members on speaker phone or video call as soon as they enter the patient’s room.1

Healthcare providers have also started taking advantage of recent advances in telemedicine.1 These virtual calls allow patients to have follow-up visits or consultations from their own homes using the Internet.1 Although telemedicine does not allow for in-person interactions, it has allowed for patients to continue receiving the care they need without having to come to the clinic or hospital.1

Moving ahead, although the COVID-19 pandemic will eventually subside, many physicians anticipate that future medical training will include more emphasis on epidemiology and emergency preparedness.1 Clinicians have already noticed changes on the research side of medicine, as new opportunities are already arising to study novel bacteria and viruses.1 Some of this research is changing how healthcare providers think about drug development, from how best to repurpose older established drugs, to how to streamline the process of clinical trial development and design.1 The outcomes of all this research should make us better prepared for any future pandemics that may arise.1

Overall, both patients and healthcare providers have found themselves tested by this historic pandemic.1 Fortunately, some of the burden has been eased through smart policies to protect patients and technological advances that have facilitated social contact and practicing medicine at a distance.


Reference

  1. Pemmaraju N. Reflections on caring for cancer patients during the COVID-19 pandemic. April 21, 2020. www.mdanderson.org/cancerwise/leukemia-oncologist-doctor-reflections-on-caring-for-cancer-patients-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-pandemic.h00-159381156.html. Accessed February 1, 2021.

Share this:

Recommended For You
CLL Monthly MinutesLeukemia
Moving Toward a Better Understanding of the Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia Patient Experience
A new model of the symptoms and impacts faced by patients may lead to better clinical tools for understanding the patient experience.
CLL Monthly MinutesLeukemia
Watchful Waiting with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia
Patients who are in a period of active observation should feel comfortable sharing anything that seems abnormal with their healthcare provider.
CLL Monthly MinutesLeukemia
The Impact of Comorbid Health Conditions on Survival in Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia
A greater number of comorbidities alone may not be sufficient to predict patient survival; age and stage at diagnosis must be considered as well.
CLL Monthly MinutesLeukemia
Acalabrutinib Shown to Be as Effective as Ibrutinib in Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia with Less Atrial Fibrillation
The first phase 3 trial comparing these drugs shows that acalabrutinib has similar efficacy as ibrutinib with a lower risk of a worrisome side effect.
Last modified: February 24, 2021

Subscribe to CONQUER: the patient voice magazine

Receive timely cancer news & updates, patient stories, and more.

Country